Florida Times-Union | by Emily Bloch | May 25, 2021
Duval Schools Superintendent Diana Greene thinks six Jacksonville schools should be renamed, her recommendations obtained by the Times-Union said.
The news comes after nearly a year of debates prompting locals to reckon with the city’s ties to Confederate leaders and colonizers. After a contentious set of community meetings and balloting, voting results showed that Jaxsons wanted to see schools tied to the Confederacy renamed.
Now, through a formal set of recommendations to the school board, Greene has revealed that she agrees.
The schools Greene recommends renaming are:
- Joseph Finegan Elementary
- Stonewall Jackson Elementary
- Jefferson Davis Middle
- Kirby-Smith Middle
- J.E.B. Stuart Middle
- Robert E. Lee High
Greene doesn’t recommend changing two other names — Ribault, Jackson
However, Greene recommended not changing the names of three schools being considered that are connected to colonizers and the marginalization of Native Americans — Jean Ribault Middle and High School and Andrew Jackson High School. This aligns with how community stakeholders voted.
Greene’s recommendations will be formally presented to the Duval County school board on June 1, the Duval County School Board will vote whether to accept or reject Greene’s recommendations or ask for alternate school name suggestions.
If the board approves all nine name changes, records show the transitions will cost approximately $2 million according to district projections — but not all of that money comes from Duval Schools’ own budget.
According to the school district, renaming costs would come from a mix of general funding, private donations, capital funding and internal accounts. So far, the Jacksonville Public Education Fund has raised $17,000 toward school renaming. The district said sales-tax funding is not intended for school renaming.
The announcement dropped just a day before the local community’s final “Stop playing games! Change the names!” rally in support of renaming the schools. The rallies have been happening on a weekly basis and supported by a group of local advocacy groups and organizations including the Northside Coalition, 904WARD, Take ‘Em Down Jacksonville and the Jacksonville NAACP branch.
Image: File photo of Diana Greene, Duval County Schools superintendent Bob Self/Florida Times-Union